We had the chance to chat with Danny from Hardly Art’s Seapony. We discussed songwriting, dealing with the odd bad review, and a few other interesting things.
NT: I believe it’s been just about a year since your album “Go With Me” came out. Have you guys been working on any new music lately?
DR: We have been working on so much new music! We have a new record coming out in the fall.Some of the new songs have been a part of our live set for a while now. It’s hopefully a bit more diverse without straying too far from the sound of the first record.
NT: A couple of band members (you and Ian) grew up in Oklahoma, what music was coming out of that area aside from The Flaming Lips?
DR: The Flaming Lips are the only Oklahoma band I really like. I come from a very small town and there was no music scene whatsoever. I mean, there were country bands, blues bands, classic rock cover bands, and I think a jam band. I used to get K Records catalogues and mail order stuff. We would drive to Fayetteville, AR to see shows. I read Spin. That’s part of the reason we decided to skip town. I guess we could have stayed and tried to make Oklahoma work for us, but I think we made the right decision.
NT: You recorded your last record without a drummer. Does it feel more organic to work with a
person rather then technology?
DR: We still haven’t recorded with a real drummer or collaborated with one while writing songs. On our new album, we used these electronic drum pads, the kind you play like real drums, in order to give it a less rigid feel. We’ve primarily been playing with a drummer for live shows and it’s 100% more fun/less awkward. Playing a show with a drum machine kind of puts us on the spot, and since we’re just playing guitars and not being all that wild about it, it’s kind of boring. When we first started playing with a drummer, it was with our friend John who used a very minimal kit (floor tom and snare).We recently found a new drummer, Aaron Voros. He plays a full kit quietly and with restraint, which are very rare qualities in a drummer. When we get around to making a third album, he will definitely be dropping the beats on it.
NT: I believe you writes most of the lyrics for the band, is most of the writing done with Jen in mind?
DR: Some of the more romantic lyrics I’ve written with her in mind, but it’s a secret as to which ones they are. Our lyrics often begin as gibberish to capture the most fluent phrasing for the vocal melody. We then fill in similar sounding words and play around with them and pick what is most fun to sing/easy to execute/not lame. On our new album, Jen says the word “grave” in a song, which was surprising to me.
NT: That influential indie website that starts with the letter P were a little rough on “Go With Me” did they miss the idea completely?
DR: Oh that. Well, it wasn’t that bad. It’s true that Go With Me isn’t a terribly original sounding album, but the songs were written early in the life of the band (we formed in June 2010 and the album was in stores May 2011). They were intended to be catchy, instantly accessible, and above all, fun to play. We wanted to make songs that people could easily enjoy and maybe make them forget their troubles for a little bit. I don’t think people (non-musicians) realize that it’s easier to play too much on a song, add unnecessary parts, or just basically overdo it. We spent a lot of time whittling down parts to the bare essentials to make it sound the way it does.
Maybe the Pitchfork review helped make us a better band? It probably didn’t. Maybe the new album has a more unique sound? It’s hard for me to tell. We did think twice about certain things, how they might come across to a potential reviewer, which was something we never really thought or cared about before. But we definitely didn’t want to make a reactionary album or something that was totally different. We just kept doing what we were doing, but tried to do it a little bit better.
NT: What was the inspiration behind the track “Blue star” it really stands out on the album.
DR: My initial response would be, “there isn’t one” or “I don’t know, we just made it up.” I think I might have sat down trying to write a country song and ended up with “Blue Star.” It pretty much wrote itself. We originally wanted to change the lyrics, but anything more complicated or wordy didn’t sound right. We were also having a hard time thinking of the song title. After recording a demo of the song, we took a walk and went past a cafe called “Blue Star” that we’d been to a few times. That’s how we chose the name. It doesn’t have anything to do with the lyrics.
NT: Will you guys continue to work with Hardly Art? They are really putting out some interesting music these days.
DR: Definitely. Those guys are all right. There are only three people who run it and we know them well. They’ve been very fair with us and are understanding when we make last minute decisions, which
we do often.
NT: Which five records would you say have had the most influence on you?
DR: Most of this is probably way obvious, but the top five records that have influenced Seapony so far are:
Beat Happening – Dreamy
The Softies – It’s Love
The Field Mice – Snowball
Galaxy 500 – Today
The Zombies – Odessey and Oracle
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